One of the surprise hits of last year was the ‘romantic comedy’ The Proposal which starred Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, directed by Anne Fletcher. The film is funny in parts, amusing in others and predictable in every way possible. It’s silly fun in a sitcom sort of way, and overall I enjoyed it. It’s not the best work of either lead actor, but it’s just enough to get by. However, there was something that annoyed me. There were a few scenes played for laughs that didn’t quite work. One was seen in the trailer where happenstance requires a cheap gag in the buff. It’s not as funny as it should be because that scene was not only spoiled in the trailer, but it all but spells it out where the two characters Margret and Andrew are headed. But I want to focus on the next two items, because they are joined at the hip. Upon arriving in Alaska, Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is handed a warm blanket by Gammy (Betty White), Andrew’s 90 year old grandmother, to cover up with in the cold night. It has a nickname- “the baby maker” since every bride to be has been proven to have gotten a bun in the oven shortly after using the blanket. Then later, Margret and Andrew (Reynolds), who are respectfully sleeping apart, are frantic to get into bed together when members of the family knock at the door. The implication is that if they are not seen in bed together then the family will think something is ‘wrong’ with the couple. To add to the drama, the family wants an impromptu wedding, because the entire clan is there and Grandma is in her last years. If I didn’t know any better, someone expected a shotgun wedding, considering that the family expected a new engaged couple to behave a certain way. Since the premise of the film is that the engagement itself is a sham (the plan being to get married and then divorced some short time later), I had to speculate. What if the story changed and it wasn’t a put on? Would the couple still be expected to be shacked up, would they think anything of it? What this scene effectively does is paint the family in a whole new light, one that cannot be overlooked. Either they would think it strange that their son wasn’t having sex with his fiancée before marriage, or Andrew and Margaret simply think that they would think that.

As far as rom-coms go, The Proposal is one of the best made in the past five years, without having to go too far into the gutter. I’ll also give the film some props for not having the guys as as a bunch of dopes. Eccentric is one thing; dopes are another matter.

So what is wrong with most rom-coms, you ask? You’ll be sorry you asked. Continue reading